Sgt. Yerby Barneycastle (Cassel), Co. K, 11th North Carolina Infantry, On the Battle

6 02 2018

Manassas Station – July 24th/.61

Dear friends, I have a short spell this morning to pen you a few lines to let you know that we are still in the Land of the living but have but little assurance how long we may be here. This last Tuesday a week we started from Richmond for Winchester but got to the junction on wednesday evening and lay in the cars over night and next morning left for our entrenchments. We did not get into the Battle which was fought on Thursday, we holding a different point from where the attack was made but commenced between 12 & 1 oclock and lasted about 4 hours during which time cannon Balls & shell passed us tolerbly plenty I assure you But fortunately doing no damage in our Regiment. Then times being tolerbly still until Sunday morning, except the pickets who was firing occasionaly at each other, when the other Battle commenced about 7 oclock and lasted until about 5 oclock in the evening and terminated in routing the enemy and driving them back for the present and resulted in (so rumor say in camp and the best juges say) loss of from 2500 to 3000 on our side and between 8000 & 10,000 on the side of the enemy.

I don’t think we have missed a day but there was a number of Prisners brought in and we have taken quite a quantity of the enemies stores, Horses, Waggons, Artillery the best they have so rumored. Ammunitions quite a quantity. I saw four Horse load myself. I saw a great many Waggons & horses myself for we being right at the road we had good opportunity of seeing all that passed and some things passed on sunday that I had just as [?] had not passed for they throed cannon balls & shells right at our three companies & capt. Westmoreland’s. Nearly all day our company & Capt. Beloe. There was some half dozen in the evening of Balls in our encampment some shell or pieces fell nearly in our ditch not more than twenty feet from our company. Lieut. Zigler picked them up and we examined them. Such a sunday I never Witnessed before & hope may never be called on to Witness again. Our regiment held the right Wing of honor in the Battle for we had to lay and be shot at all the time and could not get a shot ourselves. We have entrenchments for about 12 miles now and still extending them so they say. Rumor is in camp that the enemy has left Centerville also Fairfax and Alexandria. Whether that is so or not I cannot say for you have no idea what tales are here in camp, you hear ten thousand tales here. The whole junction which covers about ten miles square is alive with soldiers, some coming, some going and some stationed. There is one little incident which occurred in coming from Richmond to this place I had like to have forgot to mention. I suppose about 12 oclock at night we had stopped to get water & wood. We were nearly all asleep on the train. There was another coming up behind and run into ours and had liked to have turned us topsy turvy But nobody was killed immediately and only one seriously injured. I have not heard whether he is dead or not. It smashed up things terably. I would be glad to see you all again and have some fun but alas that is denied me for the present and maybe forever on this earth the way things stands now. We are listening for marching orders any minuet. Ephraim has just come into the tent. He was out on Picket night before last and yesterday 24 hours. He says he saw a dead yankey shot right above the left eye in the Battle of Thursday. He said he was swollen up so tight that it looked like you could crack a tick on his belly. He is well & satisfied and wants to know how the boys are getting along and all the rest how his crop is getting along &c.

I don’t know where to tell you to direct your letters too for I don’t know where we shall go yet. If you write Back your letters to Manassas

Via
Care Cap Miller
11 Reg Vol
of NC

If we leave here the letters will be forwarded to us.

Please let Sandy & Amos & Martin Charles Henry Clinard see this letter and all write as soon as you can for I have but little time to write myself. Show this to Mother in particular & all the rest.

Y & E Cassels*

*Barneycastle went by Yerby Cassel and is found in the records under that name. His brother Ephraim is found under Barneycastle, and is likely the E referred to in the signature.

Letter Image (Including a biographical sketch of Yerby Barneycastle and a later war letter)

From the private collection of Maureen Tinnesz

Transcription by James Burgess [with slight variation by BR]

Contributed by John Hennessy

More on Barneycastles in the Civil War

Yerby Cassel at Ancestry.com

Yerby Cassel at FindAGrave


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2 responses

6 02 2018
Carolyn Ferrell

I am writing a book on the 14th TN infantry and col. William A. Forbes. Any information on him would be greatly appreciated. I came to Richmond a couple of years ago to do my research and have visited Manassas twice, walking the battlefield. I truly need any correspondence, notes, photos, etc. on Forbes. Please put the word out. Thank you for adding me to the group!

Liked by 1 person

7 02 2018
Harry Smeltzer

The word is hereby out.

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